Penns Creek is Pennsylvania's longest limestone stream, flowing easterly from its headwater at Penns Cave, several miles north of Spring Mills on PA Rte 45, to Selinsgrove, where it is a tributary to the Susquehanna. The focus of most trout anglers is the portion of the stream from Coburn, where Elk Creek provides a significant dose of cold water, to Cherry Run near Weikert. The entirety of this eleven mile stretch is under special regulation, with trophy trout rules applying in the upper seven miles and catch and release in the lower 3.9 miles.
Penns Creek is as close to a wilderness limestone stream as exists in the Keystone State. Vehicular access is very limited; significant hiking is necessary to sample the entire length of the special regulations area. A full panoply of hatches can be enjoyed on Penns Creek, with Grannom Caddis being the first to appear in April. This magnificent and truly scenic stream also boasts great March Brown and Sulphur hatches, and the Green Drake, appearing in early June, is a beacon for anglers from all over the country. A strong population of stonefly nymphs provides year round fodder for the trout as well.
Regrettably, there is a downside to Penns Creek. Because of the extensive agriculture along its upper reaches, Penns Creek muddies quickly and can take a long time to clear. Due to its size and bottom characteristics, Penns Creek can be difficult to wade when flow levels are good. Studded wading shoes and a staff are highly recomended. The trout in this stream are notoriously finicky and fickle, probobly because of the wealth of food available to them.
Because of its size and length, Penns Creek can also be subjected to extremes in water temperature. During cool, wet summers Penn's can fish well during July and August, allowing anglers to sample its abundant population of large Blue-Winged Olives and Slate Drakes (Isonychia) During hot, dry summers temperatures on Penns Creek can reach well into the 80's, and trout loss can be severe. In general, Penn's fishes best in the spring, but fall anging, after it cools, can also be good.
Map ©2012. Used with permission. "Trout Streams of Pennsylvania" by Dwight Landis.